Sunday, 29 January 2017

Today's column: Remembering the CBC Air Disaster and FO Charles Chow-Leong

My column in today's Winnipeg Free Press marks the 65th anniversary of the long-forgotten Carman Air Disaster.

On February 4th, 1952, three men were killed when an RCAF C-45 Expeditor struck the CBC Manitoba transmitter tower outside of Carman, Manitoba.

One was RCAF Pilot Officer Charles Chow-Leong of Lethbridge, a World War II veteran. The other two were trainees from Britain's Royal Air Force: Acting Pilot Officer Peter Frederick Harvey and Acting Pilot Officer Edward Scanlon.

Twelve hours later, three Dominion Bridge workers who had climbed the tower to make repairs were killed when the structure collapsed. They were: Ronald Erickson, of Tyndall; Walter Burtnyk of Winnipeg and Jake Dyck of Grunthal.

I wrote a blog post about the Carman Air Disaster a few years ago but it wanted to see if I could delve deeper into the accident and the people involved.

One area I ended up exploring was Chinese Canadians In World War II. Chow-Loeng was one of the first to sign up for the RCAF in October 1942. Prior to that, the RCAF was off-limits to people of colour.

I was fortunate to be able to find some of his family in Alberta who shared stories and photos. I couldn't include it all in the article but plan another post in the days ahead to share more!

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